How do you feel about loneliness?
By nature, I am a loner, and loneliness is usually a product of my own making. That’s not to say that I walk through my days in a state of perpetual loneliness. Indeed not, that would be an inaccurate depiction of my situation. In fact, I am rarely lonely.
I spend most of my time reading, writing and researching. All of these keep my mind occupied and leave very little room to be lonely. I also have three distinctive voices in my head most of the time – Catharine, Evelyn and Stefano – my muses and animus. They are constant companions unless I am medicated.
I’ve come to realize that it is not easy for others to be around someone who is a natural loner and introvert, and who is awkward around people like I am. I am sure that past friends and lovers have probably felt loneliness in my presence. One friend did express that to me once and it still pains me that I caused her loneliness. I can easily apologize for it, but unfortunately, I cannot change these aspects of myself without causing great harm to my psyche. For me, there is no faking it – trying to be “out there” and engaged with others on a large scale (small scale, maybe) – because doing so would cause me great suffering – mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Every now and again, loneliness will wash over me. Sometimes it is just a gentle whoosh around my toes as I am reminded of a long-lost friend or lover, but other times it is a huge wave that drags me under and carries me off to sea as I feel the emptiness and abandonment of the past. Years ago, either of these could have left me depressed, ranging from a few days to weeks and months. Now, I allow the lonely moments to come and go, acknowledging them, but not inviting them in for tea.